The opening of the state Legislature is right around the corner, which means it's time to start ramping up public fear.
So it's no surprise that the chief fear-mongers — Center for Food Safety, Gary Hooser's HAPA and the anti-GMO Hawaii SEED — are co-sponsoring events intended to make folks anxious about only one thing: agricultural pesticides.
For the first event, set for next week, they've aligned with a motley crew of supposed environmental advocacy groups. These include Honua Consulting, which just got a $200,000 consulting contract with the Oahu high-speed rail project, and a new group that blatantly ripped off the name — North Shore Ohana — of a legit Kauai entity that pursued important public shoreline litigation.
Yeah, if you've got no creds, and no legitimacy, why not just steal from a group that does? Ethics, like facts, are not highly valued by the “ends justify the means” anti-GMO crowd.
Anyway, they're bringing in writer Sandra Steingraber, who produced an advocacy film, “Living Downstream,” linking chemicals to cancer. Ironically, the film was financed by the Ceres Trust, which is funded with a manufacturing fortune, and the Kendeda Fund, which gets its money from the ex-wife of the Home Depot mogul. No chemicals or toxins there!
Steingraber will be flying to Oahu a week after speaking in Paris on “Keeping Fossil Fuels in the Ground” — well, except those she wants to make use of for her own travels. This is yet another example of the hypocrisy and not-so-clean cash behind the anti-GMO movement, which has billed Steingraber's talk as “For the Keiki.” The ad for her “free” lecture (but be sure to buy a book) asks:
Don't you believe that our keiki deserve a safe, toxin-free environment?
Of course they do. But these groups have targeted agricultural entities as the sole foe of that goal — even though they aren't the largest users of pesticides in the state, and there hasn't been one documented case of pesticide poisoning by seed companies. There isn't any attention paid to education, even though pesticide poisonings most often occur in the home, with products available at places like Home Depot.
As an aside, Reuters is publishing a harrowing series on all the drug-addicted mamas — abusing meth and opiates, the latter frequently prescribed by doctors — having drug babies, with little oversight from social services agencies, resulting in the abuse and deaths of too many kids.
But no, parental drug abuse can't possibly be a problem for keiki in drug-riddled Hawaii. Nope, the seed companies are the gravest — indeed, the only — threat to the health of island keiki. Go figger.....
Steingraber's talk will be followed next month by HAPA's “International Food Justice Summit in Hawaii,” whereby they'll trot four as-yet-unidentified “experts” around the state to:
“weave together a story of how our local struggles are connected, share inspiring stories of grassroots victories from around the earth, and explore how the world movement can grow (together) toward transforming the food system to be more democratic, equitable, ecologically and climate -sensible, and to feed people rather than corporate profits.”
First, we've had quite enough stories and storytelling, thank you very much. How about some truth, followed by some actual action? Because none of these Hawaii groups have actually done anything concrete to transform the food system. Indeed, one could make a strong case that they're guilty of food injustice, as in consuming more than their share, simply by observing the paunches and jowls of the most ardent activists.
And enough already with the empty rhetoric about “corporate profits.” Center for Food Safety and HAPA love to demonize corporate cash and place themselves above the filthy money-grubbers, with HAPA grandly claiming its “mission is to catalyze community empowerment and systemic change towards valuing `āina (environment) and people ahead of corporate profit.”
Yet HAPA and CFS are funded almost solely by corporate profits, including those gleaned from fossil fuel exploitation and other toxic enterprises.
Speaking of Gary, I was quite touched to read his little tribute to me in his Thanksgiving blog post, where he wrote:
My thanks today goes [sic] out especially to those unique individuals who go the extra mile and who work relentlessly toward the goal of making our island and our planet a better place. I am speaking of those who are willing to stand up and be counted and speak truth to power even when the topic is controversial and the position perhaps unpopular.
Aw, gee whiz, Gary. Glad you've finally seen the light. Maybe now you'll stop leaving all those nasty "anonymous" comments about how I'm a paid industry shill. (Hint: It's super easy to identify people when they use the same language in their Facebook posts that they do in their “anonymous” comments.]
I also noticed that Gary is using his very limited time on the Kauai County Council not to advance food justice or improve farming opportunities or support local ag, but to crack down on those who improperly try to influence legislation. You know, like how he does when he goes to the Lege and uses his Councilman title to lobby for HAPA's agenda.
As he wrote on his blog:
The Hawaii State Constitution requires every County to regulate those individuals and organizations who are paid to influence government actions, however Kauai County does not presently have a “lobbying ordinance” in place. I have a proposed draft Bill that addresses this issue which is now under its final legal review and is expected to be introduced in late December or early January.
Oh, goodie. Let's hope the Council adds language that Gary is sure to omit; namely, verbiage that prohibits a Councilman from missing meetings he's paid to attend so he can misuse his elected position to lobby state lawmakers and Syngenta shareholders on issues that directly affect his nonprofit.